William Wallinder’s status as the 32nd pick in the 2020 NHL draft didn’t earn him special treatment when he joined the Rogle BK team last fall. He played 5:53 in his first game with the quality Swedish League team.
Wallinder played under three minutes in three of his next five games. He has known adversity this season. He played seven games with Rogle’s junior team and wasn’t selected for Sweden’s National Junior Team.
But Wallinder’s game has come a long way since then. Rogle BK is in a tight playoff series, tied 2-2 with Oskarshamn, and he’s averaging 18:25 minutes per game. He played 22:53 in Rogle”s 4-1 win in Game 3. In Wallinder’s last three regular-season games, he played more than 20 minutes per game.
Although Wallinder doesn’t have any points in the series, he has 12 shots on goal. He is +1.
When Wallinder was drafted, he was viewed as a raw prospect with considerable size, skating and offensive potential. The 6-foot-3 Wallinder has started to explore his talent. He posted four goals and 15 assists in 47 games. That’s the same number of points that Detroit’s prize prospect Simon Edvinsson had for Frolunda in the same league.
Is Wallinder the Red Wings No. 2 defensive prospect behind Edvinsson? You can make that argument because of the development he has shown this season.
Red Wings’ top D Men Prospects
But it’s too early to know. The Red Wings have five or six defensemen who will be in serious contention for a place on Detroit’s defense over the next two seasons.
The Red Wings are very high on Finnish defenseman Eemil Viro. GM Steve Yzerman has already signed him and he should be in North America next season. His TPS Turku team just won a seven-game playoff series. Viro had three points.
Swedish defenseman Albert Johansson (Farjestads) is also in Detroit’s plans. He has already played 141 games in the Swedish League. Johannson, 21, had 25 points this season.
Denver University defenseman Shai Buium also is a contender. He has shown improvement this season. Like Wallinder, Buium is 6-foot-3 and can skate. He posted 17 points this season.
The Red Wings’ desire for a bigger defense helped Buium and Wallinder.
— IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) April 4, 2022